It is humbling to sit with another artist’s uncompleted work and try to ascertain not only what you could add to it, but how you could do it justice. Â These quilt squares from the late 1800s put me in exactly that position. Â How could a new audience delight in this treasure? Â Bits and pieces of my various finds and stashes started working their way on to my cutting table: Â antique keyholes, vintage hand-crocheted laces, post-war trims. Â I scavenged some scraps from the bottom of the sewing chest I inherited from my grandmother, still filled as it had been with her own stash. Â Each new find inspired the next. Â And then I knew these were going to be the most perfect ring pillows for a new generation. Â They are heirlooms before they even begin.
Before I even started, I knew my sewing machine was not going to get to play with these pieces. Â I needed to honor the seamstress who came before me, and to do that I needed to stitch these pillows entirely by hand. Â And so I did. Â And it was mesmerizing. Â Who was this woman who had so carefully pieced these squares? Â Was it by candlelight? Â Was she surrounded by her children? Â Or her grandchildren? Â My mind tumbled through so many characters and variations of a story that started such a very long time ago, one that is now part of my story, and one that will become part of another couple’s story. Â And that story and these heirlooms, I hope, will continue to handed down and retold for generations.